For years, my favorite movie was the original Dawn of the Dead, written and directed by the recently departed George Romero*. The bulk of the movie takes place at an abandoned shopping mall, leading to the three-word synopsis: “Consumers get consumed.” In keeping with Romero’s low-budget ethos, he used a real mall for numerous scenes — specifically, the Monroeville Mall, east of Romero’s Pittsburgh home base. For those of us of a certain age and filmic disposition, the Monroeville Mall became a sort of archetype, and during my first tour of duty at Sears (Store #1730, Florence, KY), I’d always get a little creeped out if I had to close and walk out of the largely darkened Florence Mall.
But as I noted above, Mr. Romero died a few days ago. Lots of folks have written tributes to the man and his work, but I was particularly pleased to see this one a few minutes ago.
*= In recent years, I’ve grown to love Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past to the point where it is now at the top of my personal hit parade. Still, Romero’s work will be a feature any time I teach the horror film.